Catholic believers pray for the intercession of the saints in heaven so that they may pray for us on our behalf. Saints are able to intercede on our behalf and offer up to God the prayers of those on Earth. Patron saints are recognized as the heavenly advocates and special intercessors for many things, even states. If you want to ask for the special intercession on behalf of your state, do you know who to pray to?

When we think of Tennessee, we often think of mountains, fall landscapes and the birthplace of country music. However, the Catholic Diocese of Nashville, Tennessee has been focused on honoring one of its patron saints: St. Joseph. St. Joseph is one of the Catholic Church’s most beloved saints. For centuries, Catholics have asked for his intercession and protection.

He is the patron saint of workers, travelers and immigrants, families, fathers, expectant mothers and unborn children, craftsmen, engineers, house sellers and buyers. He is the patron saint of hundreds of churches and dioceses across the globe—including the Diocese of Nashville. The diocese is paying its respect during the Year of Saint Joseph, which lasts from Wednesday, December 8, 2020 through Thursday, December 8, 2021.

His name, in many languages, is the most common name for cities and places in the world. Even though St. Joseph is honored around the globe, it is said that he lived a very normal life in servitude and obedience to God. St. Joseph is a great model for living a life of virtue.

Learning more about the life of St. Joseph teaches the lesson that we don’t have to be center stage to make a difference in people’s lives. Scripture describes Joseph as a “just man” who was obedient to God when faced with difficult circumstances.

Joseph’s engagement to Mary was not the same as a modern engagement—it was considered a legal agreement. Under Jewish law of the time, the punishment for an engaged woman found guilty of adultery was death by stoning. As a law-abiding citizen, Joseph would have been expected to leave Mary when he found out she was pregnant. But, God sent an angel to ask Joseph to stay with Mary, and Joseph was obedient. This showed a great deal of courage during this time and culture.

This is why Joseph is a perfect saint to turn to as we find ourselves in these difficult times. It’s an opportunity to incorporate St. Joseph’s characteristics in our own lives to be obedient to God and faithful during difficult circumstances.

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Kelly Legg has been writing for the Osprey Observer as a freelance writer for three years, and has recently taken on the role of managing editor for the Christian Voice newspaper. She graduated in 1989 from Florida Southern College with a B.S. in Communications. She currently resides in Riverview with her husband and three children.